Annabel was born in Germany and spent several years of her childhood in Egypt before coming to England in 1956. She discovered clay at Farnham Art School on Saturday morning classes in the early 1960s. After leaving school in 1967, she attended Winchester Art School, where she was introduced to conceptual art and concrete poetry, and then Croydon College of Art. She went on to gain a BA(Hons) in Sociology and a PhD in Lesbian History at Essex University, then introduced and taught Lesbian Studies at Birkbeck College for two years. In her early 40s, she returned to her first love of clay, as one of the initial students on the City Lit Ceramics Diploma course in 1989.